Fire. 火の用心 [Hinoyojin]. A bundle of Japanese fire safety flyers, small posters and brochures from the 1920s and 30s. v.p. v.d. c1920-1941. 62 items plus some duplicates varying between bookmark size and about 38cm high, one 74cm high. A few with damaged edges but still pretty good, some still new. Au$650

An occasional date sighted, ranging from 1920 to 1941. There are three postcard sized colour prints on clear cellophane and, bundle within bundle, there are twelve calligraphic block printed 'beware of fire' sheets.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Street Kamishibai. Gataro & Yaeko? 死神むすめ : 13巻 [Shinigami Musume : 13 kan]. np. Sadamusha? 195-? Ten handpainted and varnished sheets on heavy boards, 26x36cm. Text handwritten on the back. Edges worn and minor scrapes and blemishes as expected. Stamps of the Osaka and Nagoya kamishibai ethics committees, which my informant speculates were self proclaimed entities that existed nowhere other than as stamps on a handful of stories. Au$1000

If you've looked at published kamishibai and wondered how it could ever have been popular ... it wasn't. The published stuff was almost all heavy handed propaganda and improving drivel produced without any artistic skill or imagination by government and education agencies and pressed on children in schools. Real street kamishibai was produced by hand by the kamishibai men themselves or by associations - such as the Sadamusha - that acted more or less as lending libraries. Which is not to say that a hell of a lot of street kamishibai wouldn't be described kindly as 'naive'. But enough had to be compelling to bring and keep audiences. Specially through hundreds of episodes, which some stories ran for.
Kamishibai was not long lived. It was more or less born with cinema and died with television, and the greatest works, as far as they have survived, were produced toward the end, during the occupation after the war. The connection to film serials is inescapable of course but kamishibai is not burdened with technical restraints. If you can imagine it, you can draw it and you can tell the story.
This is the complete episode 13 of what might be translated as 'Death's Daughter' which I'm told is a story of horror and revenge but I doubt that anyone living knows the whole story. As far as I can figure, when the kamishibai industry ground to a halt the kamishibai men just packed away, or threw away, whatever episodes they had. If a large hunk of a story or, something I've never seen, a whole story was held by the association you can be sure it was dull, rarely used. Here, I've traced only episodes 10 to 15 which all seem to have come from the same source. How many episodes were there? Who knows.
It's pretty fabulous, no Golden Yasha but a fair slice of that essential overwrought pervasive dread and stark fear.
Kamishibai are public stories usually told by kamishibai men who set up a folding stand on the back of their bicycles and acted the dramas illustrated on the cards. Held up with the plates in order, the text for the first picture is on the back of the last. The sheets are transferred to the back as the story continues; the text for the second picture is on the back of the first, and so on.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

西洋草字いろは [Seiyo Sojo Iroha]. n.p. n.d. {c1860-70?]. Woodcut 25x34cm. Folded, rather good. sold

A kawaraban style - ie anonymous, cheap and disposable - guide to western cursive writing. Iroha can be translated as ABC - from the maybe C11th poem which is used to order kana. Illicit news sheets - kawaraban - which look much like this were a staple of street life in Japan and come the foreigners the kawaraban producers went crazy. Come the Meiji restoration and modernisation books which taught the English alphabet and odd selections of vocabulary proliferated but sheets like this were education for the commonest folk.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Kawaraban. 流通新貨幣位付早見 [Ryutsu Shin Kahei-i-tsuki Hayami]. n.p.n.d. [c1870]. 32x41cm wood cut. A couple of small blotches, rather good. Au$165

A quick guide to the new coins in circulation. Added to the mass of new things for Japanese to learn and new ways of thinking, with the Meiji restoration, was the new yen based currency.
Kawaraban - illicit illustrated news sheets for the streets - were produced by the million for a couple of hundred years so of course few survive. They were produced for anything more interesting than the drop of a hat.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Catalogue - magic. Green Frog. Magician's Handbook ... catalogue of "Green Frog" magical conjuring stage and pocket tricks. n.p. [Sydney?] 1939. Single sheet folded to form four pages largish octavo by size, outer pages with red and green illustrations, inside printed in black. Au$35

A flyer to promote Green Frog tricks and their catalogue, a sample page inside and some hints and tips. Naturally this is better printed on better paper than the actual catalogue.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Okano Sakae 少年飛行雙六 [Shonen Hiko Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Shonen Sekai 1912 (Meiji 45). Colour broadside 55x79cm. Rumpled with several short tears around edges and along folds repaired. Au$250

This delightful illustrated journal of a boy's flying adventures was the new year gift from the boy's magazine Shonen Sekai. It's on a waxy paper that may have seemed a good idea when new but does not handle handling so well. This is the best copy I've seen so far but I'm still looking.
Okano Sakae was one of the generation of artists who came through the western painting department of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts at the beginning of the century, later a pupil of Kuroda Seiki, and collaborator with fellow Hakubakai students on the five volume Nihon Meisho Shasei Kiko.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Sato Unsho. 小学色図問答 [Shogaku Irozu Mondo]. Nagoya, Keiundo 1878 (Meiji 11). 18x13cm publisher's wrapper (blotched); with block or stencil coloured colour wheel and colour chart. A pretty good copy, remarkably good for an old school book. Au$350

Second printing maybe, a month after the first? This is very similar but not quite the same as the Irozu Mondo prefixed as Gakko Hitsoyu (school essentials) rather than Shogaku (primary school) and if that's not confusing enough, this title apparently exists as three different books by different authors.
Western colour theory for Japanese students. The colour chart and wheel are the same as the aforementioned Gakko Hitsoya ... which I guess means that the theory traces back to Field's chromatics.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

HEALEY, Daniel. The Seven Christians Of Championdom - A Tale of the Times. Written, and published for and by The Author, Sydney ... 1885. 26x21cm original half cloth & marbled boards with gilt on black title label (wear to tips and edges, label quite rubbed); 152pp. Printed from handwriting by some kind of duplication or autolithography. Bookplate recording its gift from John Lane Mullins to St Sophia's Library. Au$1200

Singular, eccentric ... all the usual labels apply to this distopian, or at least satirical, romance of the city of Yendis, capital of Champiana. Daniel Healey might be better known as author Whaks Li Kell but it's unlikely. That's the painful pseudonym he used for his other known book, 'The Cornstalk, his habits and habitats' (1893), in which his target expanded from Sydney to the colony of New South Wales.
This did receive a cruel notice in The Bulletin (August 1 1885) but it was written with a hand as heavy on the wit lever as Healey's by someone who would rather be cute than intelligible. It's hard to figure out exactly what the reviewer is mocking. Elsewhere I find a Daniel Healey was an unsuccessful independent candidate for the inner city seat of Sydney-Cook in 1898 and an unsuccessful Labor (possibly) candidate for Sydney-Bligh in 1901 - which sounds like our author - but there were a lot of Daniel Healeys.
How many copies of this were produced is unknown but I'd suggest the four copies found by Trove plus this one must be a noticeable percentage. The only copy I've found sold in recent decades was this same copy.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Cookery. The Australian Housewives' Manual: a book for beginners and people with small incomes. By an Old Housekeeper. [bound with] Australian Plain Cookery. By a Practical Cook. Fourth edition. [bound with] Men, and How to Manage Them. A book for Australian wives and mothers. By an Old Housekeeper. Melbourne, Massina 1883; n.d.; 1885. Three volumes octavo, together in contemporary half roan (worn but solid). Spots and signs of use but pretty good. Bound without wrappers and additional adverts. Au$2200

Three rare cookery/household books for the price of ... well, three. Ferguson's generation didn't pay much attention to cookbooks but he was pretty diligent: he found one copy of the Housewives' Manual (and two of the second edition including his own); two copies of the seventh edition only of Plain Cookery; and one copy of Men. Today Trove finds one copy of the Housewives' Manual (and five of the second edition); five locations altogether for the second, third, sixth and seventh editions of Plain Cookery; and three locations for Men. So despite the keen hunt for these things in the last few decades they've hardly come pouring out of old pantries and larders.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

TOWNLEY, Houghton. Bedazzled. A novel. Seventh thousand. London, Trischler 1891. Octavo publisher's colour printed wrapper (small chip from the top edge). A rather good copy. Au$375

Seventh thousand but likely the first edition as Trischler - which started life as the Hansom Cab Publishing Company - were given to throwing numbers around. The BL, which is the only library I can find that definitely has a copy, has digitised theirs and it is also the seventh thousand. Unless someone has seen a copy with no such claim on the title I'm going to claim this as the original printing.
I think this is Townley's first novel, and he was fairly young, which might explain the overwrought sensational tale of a doctor willing to murder for science; the secret society; the ill fated beautiful and mysterious French actress ... The critics were not kind: "a most extraordinary sketch, which it were unkind to examine too closely." (The Academy). "A shilling sensational story with somewhat more substance in it than is usually the case" (The Bookseller). "There is something of originality in the story; but it is not particularly pleasant reading." (The Literary World). Just the sort of reviews to make a book irresistible.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Japanese textile designs. Japanese artist's album of designs and working drawings for textile designs. n.p. late 19th-early 20th century. 30x20cm, 50 double leaves stitched without covers with some 285 designs pasted in, ranging from sketches to quite finished colour designs - most are colour and most have been squared for scale; a few are full page or larger, most are pretty small and several have been pulled out or pasted over. Whatever covers it may have had have been gone for a while and it is all thoroughly used and not the least bit disadvantaged for that. sold

Very much a working ideas book. There are a scattering of annonations, most involve numbers.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

VILLER, Frederick. [Christian Sparre?]. The Black Tortoise : being the strange story of old Frick's Diamond. London, Heinemann 1901. Octavo publisher's illustrated tan cloth blocked in black, white and green. Rear endpaper removed but a nice fresh copy. Au$275

First English edition of an early piece of Nordic noir - only the rude would call it Norwegian wood. I think this is the second book of Inspector Monk, published in Norwegian in 1898, and the only one translated into English then and maybe still.
I was going to ask how it is that rich tiresome old farts like Frick always have a lovely daughter but I remember that I have a lovely daughter without being rich. Anyway, she's his niece. Still it's a troublesome family for Monk to marry into. He's going to spend the rest of his life recovering that damn Black Tortoise. Only a few chapters in it's already been stolen three times.
Then there's the indefinably sinister young Australian: the son of Frick's old friend and rescuer from the Victorian gold fields. Frick's house is named Ballarat in honour of his halcyon days when he spent three years as "sherriff" of Ballarat and made the first part of his fortune. There's no murder but two suicides help balance the score.
The binding is so much like William Nicholson, who designed Heinemann's logo and was published by Heinemann, that I'm near convinced.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Kimono design. 美ゆき [Miyuki]. Koizumi Gofkuten [190-?]. 37x25cm colour printed boards, ribbon tied (rubbing, edges with some wear); [2]pp & 30 colour lithographs. Some tissues creased and rumpled, signs of use but a perfectly acceptable copy. Au$450

A large and fairly deluxe chromolithographed pattern book of kimono designs. The current Kyoto Koizumi Co deals in kimono and fashion and trace their history back to the early 18th century. Presuming this is the same company they have come down in the world since the days of pattern books like this.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

英語階梯 [Eigo Kaitei] An English Spelling-Book, with reading lessons, for beginners at the school Kaiseidzio in Yedo. First edition. Yedo. The 2. year of Kei-ou. (Tokyo, 1866). 18x12cm publisher's wrapper, without title label. Some neat, small annotations; minor signs of use, rather good in a modern cloth chitzu. Owner's red stamp with "Sohgo" in romaji. sold

The first English spelling book published in Japan according to Ishihara Chisato who announced in 1980 (『英 語 階 梯 』と Lindley Murray のス ペ リ ン グ ブ ッ ク に つ い て [Eigo Kaitei and Lindley Murray's Spelling Book] ) that it is a slightly modified version of Part I of Murray's 'An English Spelling Book' from a copy of the 45th edition (Baudry, Paris 1839) then owned by the Tokugawa government school.
With all of these handy lessons for beginners in a new language I wonder how any Japanese learnt enough English to hold a sensible conversation about anything.
Worldcat only found, for me, Kyoto U's 1867 reprint without the name of the school. Note that the book opens right to left.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Jonathan Swift & Katayama Heisaburo. 鵞瓈皤児回島記 [Garibarusu Shimameguri]. Tokyo, Inada Sahei 1887 (Meiji 20). 19x13cm publisher's cloth backed illustrated boards; seven lithograph plates. A dash of each of the many flaws these flimsy books are liable to: some insect nibbling of the spine and back cover, browning of the paper, a few leaves a bit proud of the front edge (not a sprung signature since these books don't have signatures). The inner front hinge was taped at sometime but it's not clear why: it hasn't separated. Not a great copy but by no means a bad copy, not even an average copy of one of these board books. Au$750

Second edition of the first translation of Gulliver's Travels, or the important bit of it. These adventures in Lilliput appeared in a Japanese version in 1880 with the vague promise of the next part. The second, the Brobdingnagian, came from a different translater in 1887, some six or seven months after this second edition of the first book. I don't think anything like a complete Gulliver appeared for a fair while after that, so the Japanese audience had to wait decades to read about Gulliver's trip to Japan. The illustrations here are copied from Thomas Morten's which first appeared in a Cassell edition in 1866.
Yoko Inagi's 2014 well meaning if over egged thesis (The Evolution of Japanese Utopianism and How Akutagawa’s Dystopian Novella, Kappa ...) makes the point that Gulliver's Travels along with More's Utopia began life in Japan as political novels rather than fantastic adventures or satires. Gulliver followed much the same arc in Japan as it had in the west and by the 1920s was a children's book.
This is a 'ball cover' (boru hyoshi, apparently a corruption of 'board') book - a signal of modernity and the Japanese equivalent of a yellowback: flimsy western style bindings with lithograph covers that rarely survive in such good shape.
I traced no copies of either edition of this outside Japan.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Izumi Kojiro. 和洋家具雛形 [Wayo Kagu Hinagata]. Tokyo, Seikado 1909 (Meiji 42). Two volumes 12x18cm, publisher's wrappers with title labels (marked & rubbed but solid); semi measured drawings throughout. Marks, splodges and signs of use but very decent. Au$250

First published in 1901. A nifty pattern book of Japanese and western furniture designs, clear enough that a decent carpenter/joiner could build straight from the book. There are several designs for display and shopfittings among the bureaus, tripod tables, screens and tansu.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Akita Yazaemon. 新撰大工雛形 - 西洋技術 [Shinsen Daiku Hinagata - Seiyo Gijutsu] Tokyo, Togaido 1889 (Meiji 22). 26x18cm publisher's wrapper with title label; lithograph(?) illustrations throughout, a couple with rubrics. A bit used but pretty good. Au$250

An unusual carpenter/builder's pattern book - for both the size and clarity of the drawings - of western gates, fences, masonry arches, roof trussing, gable and finial, and staircases.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Tom Collins [Joseph Furphy]. Such is Life being certain extracts from the diary of Tom Collins. Sydney, The Bulletin 1903. Octavo publisher's olive-ish cloth blocked in dark green and red (spine a little browned, a dash of flecking to the sides). Clipped review of Furphy's poems pasted to the the preliminary advertisement leaf. A pretty good copy. Au$950

First edition - and hard to find in decent shape - of one of Australia's two great novels of the colonial period and undoubtedly the best Irish novel to come out of Australia. Clarke's His Natural Life is a Victorian English novel while Such is Life is Irish and modern - in the way that Tristram Shandy is: discursive, discontinuous and playful with both language and the reader.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

CLARKE, Marcus. The Mystery of Major Molineux, and Human Repetends. Melbourne, Cameron Laing 1881. Octavo modern cloth; title page dusty with a small piece from the bottom corner: without its front wrapper for a while it seems, but rather good once you're past that. Without the slip announcing that half the profits would go to Clarke's widow and children. Au$875

First edition and hard to find. Clarke’s last work and just posthumous; R.P. Whitworth’s preface is an obituary. Major Molineux is a Tasmanian psychological suspense thriller which for "intensity of sustained interest and soul—thrilling excitement it is only surpassed by Edgar Allen Poe ..." (preface). Possibly quite true though the conclusion is unsatisfyingly modern in its inconclusiveness. The Human Repetends, an earlier story and set in Melbourne, has similar "weird, physiological, and psychological" interest.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

CLARKE, Marcus, et al. The Australian Christmas Box: a series of stories ... Melbourne, Cameron Laing [1879?]. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper (signs of use, a touch ragged); two full page illustrations. Small hole in a margin touching a few letters that looks like a production flaw. Pretty good. Au$750

Clarke, Robert Whitworth and Waif Wander (Mary Fortune) have done the right thing and provided tales filled with madness and murder. The others ... meh. Grosvenor Bunster's effort is a revolting, heartwarming tale of redemption a la Christmas Carol.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Kurofune Kawaraban. Perry and the Black Ships. アメリカ蒸気船之図 ... 海陸御固御役人附 [Amerika Jokisen no Zu ... Kairiku o Kata o Yakunin Fu]. n.p. [1854]. Woodcut 60x32cm on two sheets; folded. Au$1500

A most handsome portrait of Perry's steamship by an artist in no way hampered by being at some remove from the subject.
Kawaraban - illicit illustrated news sheets for the streets - were produced by the million for a couple of hundred years so of course few survive. They were produced for anything more interesting than the drop of a hat and the arrival of the Black Ships, the American squadron commanded by Perry, in 1853 and 54 eclipsed any and all tiresome earthquakes, fires, plagues, famines, murders and scandals. For most Japanese this was the same as a squadron of alien space ships arriving on earth now. These prints are the kurofune (black ship) kawaraban. There is an almost identical version of this but in that there is just one background ship, partly obscured by a flag.
Attached is the list of officials manning the defences.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

新型小紋中 (?) [Shingata Komon Chu?]. n.p. 1798? (Inscribed Kansei 10 on the back). 15x22cm wrappers labelled by hand; 36 double dark blue/indigo leaves with 72 patterns printed by stencil, most in white, six in a pinkish/mulberry colour. A remarkably good copy of a working book. There is an ink inscription inside the back cover that might have useful information but a brushed scrawl is beyond me. Au$1200

A charming sample book of new designs in fine patterns. Katazome, I think, applies to this type of indigo stencil textile pattern dyeing as well as to the larger, more illustrative designs.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Kuroda Masanori. 陶磁器意匠標本 [Tojiki Isho Hyohon]. Dainippon Ceramic Industry Association, 1895 (Meiji 28). 24x17cm publisher's decorated wrapper (a bit marked); 30 woodcut (and lithograph?) plates on 15 double leaves, 12 colour, the rest printed in black or blue. Rather good. Au$600

A scarce and intriguing pattern book of mostly fancy ceramics - what I'd call export stuff - issued by the industry association with enough plates detailing both form and decoration to be most useful. So who is for? A guide for the trade or for the customer? Maybe both. Given that two of the three copies I've traced were pretty revolting I'd guess trade.
Worldcat finds no copies outside Japan.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Hikifuda specimen book. A publisher's sample book of specimen hikifuda. n.p. (Osaka?) 190-? 26x39cm; later makeshift card binding that appears to be from a printer; 76 colour lithographs. Definite signs of use, occasional tears but nothing too serious. Au$2750

These are rare. Specimen hikifuda do float around but this is because busy fingers have dismembered every sample book they can find. Here series and numbers are stamped on the back but are not consistent; still I found only three places where offsetting shows that a sample is missing, including the first plate.
Hikifuda - small posters or handbills - were usually produced with the text panel blank. The customer, usually a retailer, had their own details over printed, so the same image might sell fine silk or soy sauce.
From what I can see, if you wanted fine, delicate printing you went to Kyoto; if you wanted commercial publishing on a huge scale you went to Tokyo; and if you wanted brash, vivid to the point of lurid, advertising you went to Osaka. This particular set is marked by the bold and busy colours, strongly marked borders, ornate design and occasional extra embossing. More expensive series than standard? I would have guessed most to be earlier but I found two dates: 1911 and 1915, and the aeroplanes are a give away.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Specimen hikifuda. Hikifuda of a modern couple in an elaborate cockerell balloon basket above an exposition or fair; the brash young woman waving a Japanese flag. n.p. [190-?]. 36x25cm colour lithograph. Browning but pretty good. Au$300

Such overtly enthusiastic and active women are not so common in Japanese pictures. The navy ships in the bay make me think this marks one of Japan's victories - the 1904 war with Russia or the 1894 win against China. The fashions push the date back but Hikifuda artists didn't always worry about such details unless the target was fashion.
Hikifuda - small posters or handbills - were usually produced with the text panel blank. The customer, usually a retailer, had their own details over printed, so the same image might sell fine silk or soy sauce.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Jonathan Swift, Katayama Heisaburo and Okube Tsunekichi. 鵞瓈皤児回島記 [and] 大人國旅行 : 南洋漂流 [Garibarusu Shimameguri] and [Daijinkoku Ryoko : Nan'yo Hyoryu]. Tokyo, Inada Sahei & Shinkodo 1887 (Meiji 20). Two volumes, 19x13cm publisher's cloth backed illustrated boards; (a) seven lithograph plates. Minor signs of use, rather good. (b) four lithograph plates, one double page, one folding. Some nibbling from the paper on the front, no paper at all on the back. Still a remarkably good copy of a flimsy book made to be read to pieces. Au$3200

Second edition of the first book, first edition of the second. Gulliver's Travels, or the important bits of it. The adventures in Lilliput appeared in a Japanese version in 1880 with the vague promise of the next part. The second, the Brobdingnagian, came from a different translater in 1887, some six or seven months after the second edition of the first book. I don't think anything like a complete Gulliver appeared for a fair while after that, so the Japanese audience had to wait to read about Gulliver's trip to Japan. Which is usually a good thing. What Australian wants to watch the Simpson's Australian episode?
The illustrations to the Lilliputian adventures are copied from Thomas Morten's which first appeared in a Cassell edition in 1866 but though Morten provided heaps of models the Brobdingnagian illustrator went elsewhere. Where I'm not sure. I'd say the continent but I'm pretty sure these are not Grandville's, nor Gavarni's, nor Poirson's. The Japanese artist/lithographer is pretty good though.
Koon-ki Ho's 1991 essay on the utopian tradition in Japan (Japanese in Search of Happiness) suggests that Swift's "portrayal of the moral Brobdingnagians was influenced by the reports of China and Chinese available." and Yoko Inagi's 2014 well meaning if over egged thesis (The Evolution of Japanese Utopianism and How Akutagawa’s Dystopian Novella, Kappa ...) makes the point that Gulliver's Travels along with More's Utopia began life in Japan as political novels rather than fantastic adventures or satires. Gulliver followed much the same arc in Japan as it had in the west and by the 1920s was a children's book.
These are 'ball cover' (boru hyoshi, apparently a corruption of 'board') books - a signal of modernity and the Japanese equivalent of a yellowback: flimsy western style bindings with lithograph covers that rarely survive in such good shape.
I traced no copies of either edition of the first part outside Japan and one copy of the second part: UC Berkeley.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Baitei Kinga. 演説振 : 即席品物 [Enzetsuburi : Sokuseki Shinamono]. Tokyo, Man'yukai 1888 (Meiji 21). 18x13cm publisher's colour illustrated lithographed cloth backed boards; one double page illustration, smaller illustrations through the text. Natural browning of the cheap paper. An excellent copy. Au$150

Yes, I bought this for the cover and condition without any idea of what it's about. Still don't but I think it's maybe a humourous book about speechification and spruiking.
From what I can figure out Baitei Kinga never took enough time from writing to have a life.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

The media is the message

War artists; Sino-Japanese war. Mizuno Toshikata. 大日本帝国萬々歳 : 成歓襲撃和軍大捷之図 [Dainipponteikoku banbanzai : Seikan Shugeki Wa-gun Taisho Nozu?]. Akiyama Buemon 1894 Woodcut triptych 33x70cm, the three sheets joined and laid down. A bit marked and grubby. Au$200

This is the first time, as far as I know, that war artists and journalists became stars of senso-e: war prints. I can't read the names of the two artists portrayed here but of course the best war artists never went near a war. I found no suggestion that Toshikata ever left his studio.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Petticoat government

Feminist Sugoroku. Maeda Masujiro. 女天下双六 [Onna Tenko Sugoroku]. Osaka 1915 (Taisho 4). 53x77cm colour broadside. Natural browning of the paper, small holes and tears with some repairs. Au$1100

Rare and wonderful. Not the greatest copy maybe, but until someone sees a second copy we won't know. Onna Tenko - woman's world - can be translated as 'petticoat government' and graphic reversals of male and female was long a favourite tool of the anti-feminist anti-suffragists. Which has long made me wonder: the horror of men at having to fill women's roles and do women's tasks is surely the most persuasive argument for equality.
As unlikely as it seems in Japan in 1915 when women were forbidden any political activity, I'm almost convinced that the argument here is for women, why else would they have the arrogant, exasperated, indifferent, harsh, demanding expressions that they must see on men's faces every day.

As far as I can find, Maeda Masujiro is just a name on a couple of later samurai sugoroku that don't look a lot like this. This one seems to have a fair bit of Rakuten in it so I guess he grew into more burly he-man types.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook

Smoca advertising. Kataoka Toshiro etc. スモカ広告作品集 第五輯 [Smoca Kokoku Sakuhinshu Daigoshu]. Osaka, Sumokasha 1937 (Showa 12). 22x15cm publisher's printed red wrapper; [8],176pp, illustrated throughout including two mounted colour plates. Minor signs of use and some browning; quite good. Au$400

The fifth of Smoca's compilations of their advertising, seven appeared between 1928 and 1941. Smoca's success - they are still going - was through clever advertising. From the start, in 1925, the company's founder, advertising man Kataoka Toshiro, hired the best artists and cartoonists.
The colour illustrations are two of Smoca's series of face and teeth posters - about the last and probably the two dullest after the weird and sometimes disturbing series issued over the previous decade.
Smoca, in case you wondered, was then a tooth powder for smokers.


You can email an inquiry or order securely through antiqbook